What is difference between Internet Speed & Bandwidth? - ISP offers bandwidth

Do you ever have thoughts about the differences between Internet speed and bandwidth? If I frame this question better, it would be like do you think Internet speed and bandwidth are the same or different?

Well, the answer is they are not the same.

I never thought these two words, Internet bandwidth, and Internet speed are so much confusing for regular Internet users before I talk with a CCNA guy.

While speaking about the ISP packages, he refers to both terms speed and bandwidth are the same.

Like him, many people referring to both these terms are the same, and they never understand the differences between them.

This article explains the differences between the bandwidth offered by an Internet Service Provider and the actual speed you get while downloading and uploading.

Difference between Internet speed and bandwidth
Internet speed and bandwidth are technically different.

Bandwidth is referring the maximum amount of data that can be transmitted in a fixed amount of time through the network while the speed is the time taken to reach the data (in the form of packets) from source to destination.

The bandwidth is a fixed value, but the network speed varies.

Network speed depends on many factors like the protocol using to send data, server efficiency, network conjunction, etc.

Let us check the differences between bandwidth and speed in practical life. You cannot check the bandwidth of your connection by downloading a file on your laptop.

Higher bandwidth helps you download a file faster on your computer. But, the download speed depends on many other factors too.

The number of devices sharing the bandwidth, the speed of the download server, the protocol you are using, etc.. will determine the actual download speed.

Even if you have high bandwidth, if the remote server is slow, it will reduce the Internet speed.

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The upload and download speed in a network depends on the connection protocol you are using.

The data transfer speed depends on whether this connection is using a connection-oriented protocol (TCP) or connectionless protocol (UDP).

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UDP is always faster than the TCP because there is no error detection and synchronizing.

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So, having the same bandwidth, the user will experience a higher speed with UDP connections.

So, in a nutshell, Internet speed and Internet bandwidth are different. Internet bandwidth is the one which is assigned by your ISP and is constant (as long as your ISP keeps its promise) while Internet speed varies with the speed of the remote server and the protocol they use to send data.

You can improve the broadband speed by changes under your control, but only the ISP can change the bandwidth allocated to you.

Post a Comment


  1. Anonymous7:45 PM

    Very nice article describing the difference. Thanks

  2. Anonymous2:39 AM

    If your ISP says that the Bandwidth is 512kb/s then you should get the downloading speed upto 512/8= 64kb/s. This is the difference between Bandwidth and Speed.

  3. I admit Internet bandwidth and speed are totally confusing terms.

  4. Nice article ! Internet speed :

    The performance of an Internet connection, which is based on the number of bytes per second that data travels from the user's device to the Internet (upload) and from the Internet (download). Depending on the type of connection, the speed differs dramatically. The download rate is higher than the upload, because a short request to the Web site (upload) results in a much larger download of Web pages, images and videos. If you want to test your internet speed , use Scanmyspeed.com

    Bandwidth :

    The bandwidth is as capacity, NOT speed. Bandwidth is the minimum capacity (in bits per second) across all network links between the user and the application server. The slowest link is typically the user's access line to the Internet. Useable link bandwidth may be reduced by congestion and protocol inefficiency (e.g., small TCP window size).